Why friends can't be clients, clients can't be friends and what to do when you're dumped.
Par for the course.
I’ve been a reader for few years and to be honest, it’s still hard when a client doesn’t book again. I try to tell myself that it’s not personal — but I do take it that way. Any advice? — Frustrated Reader
Dear Frustrated Reader,
I hear this quite a bit from readers and healers who come for a session. We do the best we can and yet a client doesn’t re-book. I understand your frustration, especially since our type of business is built on referral and returns. We are human, after all — and it’s okay if you feel a little hurt, like when someone unsubscribes from your newsletter or socials. It’s normal to get a twinge of Why don’t they like me?
This will pass as your business grows and you understand that most of your clients will leave after one session. More than likely, they received what was needed in the moment — and did the same for you, in return — and there is no reason for this soul to loop around again.
It’s easy to grow dependent on them for your financial needs — but rather than mourn what may or may not be a loss, learn to call in clients who are perfect for you.
Yes, you are allowed to do that and no, you are not meant to read everyone on the planet.
Sometimes clients will leave because they are not good for your energy or vice-versa. Not every session is a great fit — and that’s a lesson in itself. I know that sounds harsh but healers do have a tendency to overextend and overshare, to our detriment.
Consider it divine protection so that you can continue being healthy and whole.
Remember that we are ultimately self-absorbed creatures. We are concerned about our basic needs and those of our inner circle. You are not one of those people, so if your client hasn’t booked, it may be that:
they’ll book again in 3 years
$$ or family issues
they found a reader they like better (yes, we’re replaceable :)
they didn’t like what you said, even if it was positive and honest
it’s not a good fit for either one of you
they had a religious experience and no longer do reads
they do their own cards/pendulum now
they don’t need more than one reading a year
your reading was so powerful, they’re still chewing on it
All of those things are strong possibilities, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do the best you can, be uplifting and positive, clear the session once done and walk on. Build your client base so that the ones who choose not to return won’t sting as much. Eventually, you won’t notice because they’ll probably come back someday or you’re better off without them.
Soon you will build a core group of what I call the stalwarts. These are clients who will book every month and also refer friends. Some may filter out after a time — that’s natural as we wish to experience different healers/clients because there’s nothing worse than a bored reader — but there will be a core group you can rely on. Stay long enough in this business and you’ll have a huge network of clients, even if booking 1x a year or 1x every few years. The stalwarts will be the ones who keep your business humming along.
You’ll also have a few great connectors. These are queen bees who will send clients who send clients who send clients. I no longer read one of my greatest connectors — but continue to receive clients from that relationship.
New clients will find you because you have a divine date together. The stalwarts will return to provide stability.
If you’re meant to be in this business, you will continue. If not, you’ll find something else to do.
I can be friends with clients, right — especially if they’re healers? What about the leader of a spiritual group I’m in?
The simple answer: NO.
Alliances, yes. Referrals, possibly. Business conversations? Maybe. Friendship — no. Not unless there is an understanding that you will no longer trade your services for money.
When it gets down to brass tacks, you have to choose one: friendship or client.
Otherwise, boundaries get blurred and resentment begins to rise. Not so great for a budding friendship!
It can be confusing for a healer or reader. Often we do our sessions alone all day or feel odd in a world that doesn’t understand us. A session is a nurturing type of environment — but that is for your client. That’s why they pay you.
You can love your clients. I do — they are all wonderful people. Our confidential session can be filled with very intimate and sensitive topics. We can laugh and joke. Yet my role is separate from friendship. I am an advisor who is paid.
Sessions are not time to talk about your personal problems, though some clients will be curious about you. The kind but mysterious reader. It can be easy to answer. Don’t dive into why you’re having a bad week. Be polite but don’t talk in depth about where you live or what you do on your off hours. Graciously end the session. They don’t pay to hear about you, even if they want to.
You have to choose where to draw the line. Payment does not equal friendship. It is a service industry job.
If you are a person who struggles with boundaries in your personal life — allowing people call/text at all hours, demanding time and attention, being possessive about where you go/what you do — then you will attract a similar type of client.
Maybe that’s your jam. It’s not mine — I err on the side of space and caution. That’s from a childhood that didn’t have boundaries that were respected — taught by a narcissist parent who wanted to feel important at all times.
I don’t hang with clients. I don’t chat for hours after the session is done. I don’t date them or meet for coffee. I don’t share much about my personal life unless relevant to the session. With very long-term clients, we sometimes talk about the health of our businesses or have a friendly chat, but that’s about it. Obviously, some clients and ex-girfriends read my Substack or books — it’s public knowledge — which means I think carefully about what to share. It’s generally business tips, life observations or things that have occurred in the past. It may seem hurtful to someone while reading in the present — but it’s a memory I share. I’m a writer — which requires me to . . . write. That means I have to be willing to expose myself to strangers and their opinions. That is vastly different than a paying client who books a private session.
Boundaries aren’t simply for business, which is why certain topics will never be broached on my Substack. I left social media years ago and do not splash personal pics, nor seek people from my past. What’s the point? If I respect my own sense of self, there’s no need to chase curiosity where it isn’t invited. Generally, it will only end in hurt and alienation. I may be more private than others, but my mind is healthier with those choices.
I can read for friends, right?
I’ve read every one in my friendship group and they’ve also read me, if that’s their line of work. Bartering was a great option because we could practice and then talk about the sessions together. So many readings!
Then it began to change. I stopped asking/doing because sessions can become a crutch, even for a reader. I didn’t need the words of others to grow; I had to figure out my pain and work on forgiving myself. Words can be sticky in the mind, difficult to sort and identify — yours and the opinions of a well-intentioned reader.
The only person who reads me now is my mentor. My friends know I’d be there in a heartbeat — but it’s important for me to be me. Not Raven the intuitive, Raven the whatever. Just goofy Raven in her yoga pants, chattering about life.
Sometimes you just gotta sit with yourself.
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